[Borsheim Arts Studio]

Return to
Newsletter Table of Contents

Borsheim Art Newsletter:

by Kelly Borsheim copyright 16 December 2014

  1. New Works: The Saint
  2. “Enough” Chosen for “The Power of Drawing” Poets/Artists
  3. Blind Carvers of Carrara and the Lizzatura
  4. Blog Highlights: Palazzo Medici Riccardi!
  5. Subscription Info.

Sign-up to receive
e-news or printed mail.

(Your personal information is
never sold or given away.)

[Mountains of Marble Carrara Italy]

Mountains of Marble - Carrara, Italy
Photos by Kelly Borsheim June 2004

[The Saint Oil on Board Male Nude painting]
"The Saint"
24 x 17 inches
oil on board
copyright 2009-2014 Kelly Borsheim

Dear Art Lover,

Art models give much energy and authenticity to art. For example, no two people can hold the pose in the exact same way. Bodies and spirits carry themselves differently and we truly are unique and irreplaceable. That is the good news. The other good news is that there are so many art models working for artists who truly love art and put their individual personalities into the work they inspire. It is a personal gift they share with us and I could not feel more grateful for them.

One of my favorite models is Ernesto. I worked a lot with him in the years 2008 and 2009 and sadly, we have an ocean between us most of the time now. Still, I consider him a good friend, as I did then, and I have created several works with him that I think are among my best.

I was so grateful for the work Ernesto "brought" me that I created a painting of him and titled it, "The Saint." I love the pose and the way that the light falls across the many triangles of his form. While I painted it years ago, I was fortunate enough to have a friend pick it up from Texas (where much of my art still exists with John) and she brought it here to me in Italia. I have put a few finishing touches on it, mostly in the background and now present it to you.

The Saint
24 x 17 inches Oil on Board

[and someday, I may manage to get a decent image of it without reflection!]

Thank you.


Ernesto was also the model for my charcoal with pastel drawing Enough. I am honored that this drawing was recently chosen to be included with the current issue #59 of PoetsArtists, The Power of Drawing. Curated by Steven DaLuz, a wonderful artist in Texas who works with a variety of materials to create amazing 2-dimensional artworks.

As Steve has posted on Facebook:
"If you are a fan of drawing and you need some terrific inspiration, this issue is for you. It is a softcover book, with 100 drawings by 49 artists from across the globe. Get your printed copy here:

Get your online version here: http://www.magzter.com/US/GOSS183-Publishing-Group/PoetsArtists/Art/."

This is the Poets/Artists Issue #59. It is a lovely book. My work is on page 24 [at least on the online version]. And, as of this writing, he is available (the art, not the man).


Please contact me if you would like pricing information for your own collection or to buy as a gift. Also, please visit one of the galleries that carry my artworks. You may find those here:

[Enough, male nude standing figure drawing]
64 x 23 cm (25 x 9")
charcoal with pastel / carboncino con pastelli
grey Roma-brand paper

Blind Carvers of Carrara and the Lizzatura

When sculptor Mary Tanner from Nebraska and I visited Carrara, Italy, in November, we entered the Museum of Marble. I have not been there since my first time in Italy ten years ago, but I love this little museum! It explains how the Italians - before the days of electricity - chose and cut marble out of the Apuan Alps and then hauled it down to the sea for transport to clients throughout the world. It is incredible really. They re-enact this lizzatura each August to demonstrate how logs and oxen helped men move mountains of marble.

I enjoyed this artwork below by Andrew Rutt [please pardon the glare] because it is a visual reminder how many different skilled people were involved in the harvest of marble in Carrara. For centuries Italians have been masters at the specialization of labor, with a name for each kind of worker.

[Carrara, Italy, art map of Carrara]
Mixed media artwork by Andrew Rutt inside the Marble Museum in Carrara, Italia.

[Carrara, Italy, lizzatura moving marble down the mountain historical photo]
Historical photo inside the Marble Museum in Carrara, Italia.

[Mountains of Marble Carrara Italy]
The mountains of marble in Carrara as view from the train station, Carrara-Avenza.

The Organization of the Quarries

From the nineteenth century onwards, many monograms and inscriptions incised onto the rock-face and onto roughed-out blocks have come to light in the quarries of Carrara. The study of this form of evidence helps us to reconstruct the technical and administrative organization of the quarries of Luni.

Until the age of Emperor Tiberio (14-37 A.D.), when the quarries were confiscated and placed under imperial control, quarrying was administrated by the Aediles of the colony of Luni, who were responsible for the general direction of works. From a technical viewpoint, each quarry was subdivided into different sectors (bracchia) and cutting areas (loci).

Roman Tools

In order to obtain primary block extraction, the Romans used iron percussion tools, such as the malleolus (with one end pointed and the other one flat) and the vacena (with both ends pointed).

In order to obtain block separation, they used to place iron wedges inside the block fissures and to drive them by means of hammers. In order to cut the blocks into slabs, the Romans used the serra, i.e., a large smooth, toothless iron blade supported by wooden chops used at waist-height.

A mixture of water and silica sand was constantly poured onto the block: the combined action of the mixture and the motion of the blade allowed for block cutting. The blocks were then carried downhill on oxen-driven, four-wheeled wooden carts.

[Source: The signs in the museum of marble]

[Lizzaturra, Mountains of Marble Carrara Italy]
The "Lizzatura" historical photo in the Museum of Marble, Carrara, Italy

[Mountains of Marble Carrara Italy]
How to cut marble out of a mountain

[Lizzaturra, Mountains of Marble Carrara Italy]
Mary Tanner stands next to marble-harvesting equipment, Carrara, Italy

[Lizzatura Mountains of Marble Carrara Italy]
Another historical image of the Lizzatura in Carrara

[Specialists in the harvest of Marble stone Carrara Italy]
Specialists in the harvest of marble; Carrara, Italy

[Helicoidal wire to cut marble in quarry Carrara Italy]

From the Museum Sign: Helicoidal Wire: Monticolo Penetrating Pully
"Cutting with helicoidal wire was first performed in the quarries of Carrara in 1895. Three small steel wire bound together make up a larger wire which gradually penetrates into the block while carrying a mixture of water and silica sand.
The wire is supported by mobile pullies on stands placed at the ends of the cutting area.
In 1897 engineer Monticolo invented the penetrating pulley which boosted the cutting potentiality of the helicoidal wire. By using the penetrating pulley, the wire can be placed directly on the block, thus avoiding the creation of the grooves for the stands."

From the Museum Sign: Helicoidal Wire System

"Helicoidal wire is composed of three steel wires wound together. It acts as a vehicle for the abrasive mixture of sand and water which cuts marble. The line of the cut runs along a closed circuit sustained by pulleys and supports placed at the extremeties of the cutting zone. The method required the creation of two deep canals through which the helicoidal wire would pass.

In order to keep the wire cool and free from wear, the cutting line, known as stesa, is made to run along a closed circuit, sustained by other pulleys fixed on iron tubes called poteaux, reaching lengths between 1 and 2 km.

The stesa is kept in motion by a motor known as friction, whilst the tension, which is required in order that the wire maintains a constant pressure on the abrasive mixture, is sustained by a stretching trolley (carrello di tensione) loaded with a block and placed on a downhill slope."

[Helicoidal Wire System for Carving Marble in Quarry, Italy]

From the Museum Sign: The Penetrating Pulley

"Invented in 1897 by the Italian engineer Monticolo, the penetrating pulley extended the cutting potential of helicoidal wire. This invention directed the wire onto the block and could cut directly into the rock face in 'blind cuts' [straight into the quarry bench with no need to cut out areas of marble first].

To use the penetrating pulley, a hole was made into the rock for the tube which supports the pulley. The hole was made by the macchinetta, which had a dual function: as a support either for the pulley or for the diamond crown (a steel cylinder with diamonds embedded into it) that can cut marble in all directions. The macchinetta (see drawing) is formed by two steel poles connected by supports and sockets: the fixed pole, known as the fiocina (A), anchors the macchinetta in the ground; the mobile and extendible pole, known as asta perforante (B), performs vertical and rotating movements and holds the pulley (D) or the diamond crown (C).

During the cut, the helicoidal wire passes between the orientation pulley (E) and the penetrating pulley, which, being in width slightly inferior to the diameter of the wire, penetrates within the cut made by the wire. "

From the Museum Sign: Machinery for Helicoidal Wire
* Column with wire orientation aparatus
* Perforation and sawing machine with penetrating pulley"

[Helicoidal Wire System for Carving Marble in Quarry, Italy]

[Carving Marble slabs stone samples, Italy]
Part of the showroom samples of various types of marble

Here are some lovely shots from the marble quarries and a video of marble coming out of the mountain! So beautiful!

And ... my very first article about Carrara:


[Carving Marble Carusi Studios, Carrara, Italy]
Mary and I visited the Carusi Studios in Carrara before the Museum.

[Carving Marble Carusi Studios, Carrara, Italy]
Marble Bas-relief carvings by Cristina Carusi

[Stone Carvers with Cristina's Carved Marble Carusi Studios, Carrara, Italy]
Cristina Carusi, Mary Tanner, and Kelly Borsheim: all stone carvers

[Carving Marble Carusi Studios, Carrara, Italy]
I loved the similar poses by this family of carvers!

Blind Stone Carvers - Carrara Exhibition

[Stone Carving by blind artist Luigi Turati, Carrara, Italy]
"Forma Vegetale" by Luigi Turati, 2014

Also, I want to show you some amazing marble carvings…. by BLIND people! Ok, these are not considered masterpieces, but this blew my mind because I assume that to yield tools dangerous to those with sight, those without would never dare to use. How could a blind person sculpt without THREE hands (one for chisel, another for hammer, the third to feel the stone while working… to know WHAT part of the stone one is carving)? Acknowledging the work of these inspiring people is a perfect way to celebrate in December: Do what you love, any way that you can!

What I love about these works is the IDEAS behind them. They are not just carving shapes... these artists are expressing so much more.

[Stone Carving by blind artist Luigi Turati, Carrara, Italy]
"Forma Vegetale" by Luigi Turati, 2014

[Stone Carving by blind artist Lucilla D'Antillo, Carrara, Italy]

[Stone Carving by blind artist Lucilla D'Antillo, Carrara, Italy]

[Stone Carving by blind artist Lucilla D'Antillo, Carrara, Italy]

Above: "Prossima Generazione" (Next Generation) by Lucilla D'Antillo, 2014

[Stone Carving by blind artists - Exhibition Poster, Carrara, Italy]
Exhibition Poster, Blind Stone Carvers, Carrara, Italy

[Stone Carving by blind artist Lucilla D'Antillo, Carrara, Italy]
Above: "Prossima Generazione" (Next Generation) by Lucilla D'Antillo, 2014

[Stone Carving by blind artists, Carrara, Italy]
Above: HUGE apologies, I forgot to record the name of the artist

[Stone Carving by blind artist, Carrara, Italy]
Above: HUGE apologies, I forgot to record the name of the artist

Recent Blog Topics:

Here are my last few blog posts from Italia for a while. New adventures await.

You may follow a variety of art topics on my blog, mostly travel and art:
(This is a different subscription list than the one for this art newsletter.)


I am feeling grateful for a life that feels a bit wacky at times, but certainly is never dull. However, I have not quite yet found a solution to stay in Italia long-term, so very SOON I am moving to Croatia for a while. Then back to Italia after 90 days to continue my teaching there in the Renaissance City. Next summer brings me back to the United States. Although I have worked out very few of those details, I will be visiting AT LEAST Florida, North Carolina, and TEXAS. I hope to be able to line up several exhibitions during my return to the States and to see you, if at all possible.

I hope that you are also taking advantage of good times with long-time and new friends.

Thank you for sharing this journey with me. Thank you for sharing this newsletter with your friends and colleagues. And certainly, thank you for supporting my work by adding some of it to your collection.

Kelly Borsheim
16 December 2014

Sign-up to receive FREE e-news or printed mail.

Return to Read Other Newsletters - Table Of Contents Page

If you enjoy Borsheim Art News, please forward it to friends and colleagues. It comes to you about 6-8 times a year from Florence, Italy-based artist Kelly Borsheim.

[Florentine Baroque Art]

Give a Book Review:

Thank you for your interest and support in the book I wrote this past summer about being a street artist in Italy. I was thrilled to receive such glowing feedback about how I had shared not only the art and the artists, but also something of the political environment regarding street art, interaction with the public and other street performers (my favorite chapter is the one in which I have invited children to join me on the pavement), as well as images of the Renaissance City herself.

The book is titled "My Life as a Street Painter in Florence, Italy." If you have read the book and would like to help in the promotion of it, perhaps you would consider writing up a short review for Amazon.com (or even send me a testimonial for my own site). Your review does not have to be fancy. The intention is to help other people get a better idea about what is inside and whether or not they may enjoy the read.

Just click here. Scroll down to the section on Customer Reviews. Click on the button to the right that says, "Create your own review" Sign in and follow their guide.

If you have not gotten your copy of the book, you may order directly from my site:

or from Amazon.com:

I have about 20 copies here with me in Italy, so if you are also here, just write me and we will organize the rest…

Home | Sculpture | Paintings/ 2-D / Murals | Photography | Exhibits | Process | Galleries | BLOG
Newsletter | Biography | Prints | Price List | Contact Artist

Copyright © 2014 Kelly Borsheim
All Rights Reserved